So yesterday I wrote a post asking people to comment about questions they had regarding Islam. I’m working on a book and wanted to address the most commonly asked questions non-muslims have. Deus ex Machina asked a few questions but the question I found most intriguing was:
Are there any laws/rules in Islam regarding what a woman does to her body with respect to hair cutting, make-up, shaving, etc?
The reason for this is well I’ve always been somewhat of a rebel when it came to my hair and appearance. I was 17 when I converted to Islam and by the time I converted there wasn’t a color my hair had not been and I had about 12 piercings in my ears; 8 in the right and 4 in the left. There was no logic to the 8 and 4 it just seemed like the thing to do. When I converted, like most people I thought I’d have to dress like a nun and if you see the picture from yesterday you most likely think I do, but sometimes it’s not what’s on the outside that’s important, but what’s on the inside.
I’ll get to the Islamic requirements in a moment, but first I have to tell you this story. When I was in my 20′s I got divorced from my husband. One of the main reasons behind our divorce was the fact that I chose to wear the head scarf. He, a born muslim, didn’t like me wearing it and I refused to not wear it so he decided to have affairs with as many women as possible instead. Thus we divorced and in pure rebel fashion I decided to get my tongue pierced. At that time I didn’t wear the full face veil, only the head scarf, and even today when I go to visit in the US, UK, or European countries, I don’t wear the full face veil because it is NOT a requirement in Islam. Only the head scarf, known as hijab, is required. Not to be outdone two girls at the retail store I worked at went with me to get their belly buttons pierced.
I wish I had a camera to take a picture of the looks on the people’s faces as we walked into the tattoo parlor to get the piercings. I spoke to the head guy and explained I needed a female to do it and it needed to be behind a curtain as I couldn’t be seen by the male customers or male workers. Luckily there happened to be a female on duty that night, and the guy thought it was so freaking cool that I was getting this done, he set up a curtained off area for me so I could in fact get my tongue pierced and gave me 50% off the piercing.
When I could change it out, I mostly wore a flat flesh toned one to hide it, but on rebel days I’d wear a big silver ball one. When I moved overseas, I removed it. The need for the rebellion had worn off and so I took it out. Although I do know many women who have their belly buttons, eyebrows, ears, nose, and tongues pierced. For some it’s just a cool thing for others it’s more a cultural thing, but regardless of the reason, many muslim women do pierce and adorn their bodies under their robes and veils. And it is ALLOWED in Islam.
I know you hear lots of so called scholars on TV, Islamic extremists shouting the full face veil is compulsory and women can’t do this and women can’t do that, but that is their personal opinion. If you challenge them to show you can actual verse from Quran, they won’t be able to. There is absolutely NOTHING that states a woman cannot adorn herself. Yes she must cover the adornment and it can only be seen by her husband, but she can color her hair, wear make-up, jewelry etc to her heart’s content.
I’m sure most people have heard of “henna tattoos”. I know for awhile it was becoming popular. Ever wonder where that came from? Muslim women.
This is what a typical muslim bride looks like on her wedding day. Her hands, arms, and feet are adorned with henna (or mehndi) tattoos. Also on all festive holidays and celebrations, you’ll find women adorning themselves with these decorative henna tattoos. They’re temporary and come off within 3-6 weeks depending on how long the dye was left to set when it was initially applied.
Regarding shaving, it is required that at least once every 40 days a woman shaves. This includes under the arms, legs, and private areas and is for hygienic purposes. It can be more but shouldn’t be less. Now does every muslim woman do this? Probably not. Oh and this shaving requirement, it’s for both females AND males. Men are also suppose to shave under their arms and private areas once every 40 days as well as keep their beards trimmed and clean.
As for Islamic rules, a woman can pretty much do whatever she wants to her hair, but it must be covered. I realize to most people that seems to defeat the purpose. This post isn’t about WHY the scarf is worn so I’m not going to go into the details of that since this is mainly about what a woman is or isn’t allowed to do. Also the intention of the women is very important. If a woman wears bangles that will make noise when she walks simply to attract the attention of males so that she can then have affairs, then she has broken Islamic law and it is forbidden to wear bangles for this purpose. If a woman wears bangles/bracelets because she just happens to fancy them and not to attract attention of anyone, but when she walks there is a noise, then she has not broken any Islamic law. In Islam, many of the laws are based upon the intention of the person. Now if you ask an extremist, they’ll flat out tell you that wearing of such bangles is forbidden under any and all circumstances. Ask them to show you the ruling for this and they’ll be unable to do so. If you have more questions feel free to ask. If you want to be anonymous, you can always send through my contact form.